06/21/2010 04:54 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Small Business Tool to Reduce Carbon Footprint

At the 2010 Alliance for Sustainable Colorado Regional Sustainability Roundtable in Rifle last month, I was introduced to a very intriguing new venture.

Natural Capitalism Solutions is scheduled to release Solutions @ the Speed of Business on July 15. This innovative online software package will guide small businesses through a learning process for operating in a sustainable manner.

According to its website, Natural Capitalism Solutions is committed to "helping small businesses implement climate protection measures quickly, efficiently, and profitably."

Small businesses are responsible for about half of the country's nonfarm economic output, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, and they create approximately 3,500 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year.

Large companies and government entities already are moving toward sustainable operations, and it is now time for small companies to join the parade.

Lack of resources is the main reason many small business owners and cash-strapped entrepreneurs have lagged behind in this effort.

Now, businesses that cannot afford to hire a sustainability consultant or take time to read through exhausting amounts of greening advice can purchase Solutions @ the Speed of Business for $500.

This e-learning platform customizes information, advice and instructions to each user's circumstances and learning style. A powerful enabling tool, Solutions @ the Speed of Business will hasten the integration of sustainable practices in the small business sector.

The software was developed by Natural Capitalism Solutions in partnership with Scottish educational firm Cogbooks. Founded by Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalism Solutions builds on Natural Capitalism Principles, "a leading whole-system sustainability framework."

These principles are:

1. Buy time by using resources dramatically more productively.

2. Redesign industrial processes and the delivery of products and services to do business as nature does, using such approaches as biomimicry and cradle to cradle.

3. Manage all institutions to be restorative of natural and human capital.

According to the website, biomimicry is "the science and art of emulating Nature's best biological ideas to solve human problems. Non-toxic adhesives inspired by geckos, energy efficient buildings inspired by termite mounds, and resistance-free antibiotics inspired by red seaweed are examples of biomimicry happening today."

The phrase "cradle to cradle" involves internalizing all costs related to a process or product as part of a loop economy.

Solutions @ the Speed of Business has six different modules covering all aspects of business operations: lighting, office equipment, heating and cooling, marketing and promotions, water and waste. Each module facilitates creation of an action plan for individual business owners.

"Solutions @ the Speed of Business is the most comprehensive sustainability tool available to small businesses today. It will help users identify money-saving opportunities as well as walk them through the process of implementing them," explained Natural Capitalism Solutions CEO Toby Russell.

Preorder a copy of the software for your company by sending an e-mail to or calling 720-684-6580.

This blog originally ran as a SustainAbility column in the Daily Sentinel/